Table of Contents

VOLUME XV.3 May + June 2008

  • Looking at things differently
    • EDITORIAL:Interactions: a new renaissance of worlds colliding

      Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko

      One of the most exciting developments for the "interactions disciplines"is the coming together of different worlds and the uniting of alternative visions for a larger, more productive, and more enriching whole. We have seen this potential achieved internally among interaction design communities, as, for example, ethnography becomes more formally…

    • FEATUREDesigning from the inside/out

      Laura Richardson

      "We wants it. We needs it. Must have the Precious." —Gollum, Lord of the Rings As a designer I walk a fine line. On the one hand, I must listen to and positively respond to clients' demands for the allegorical "Precious." But on the other hand, I long to…

    • On modelingThe experience cycle

      Hugh Dubberly, Shelley Evenson

      In this article, we contrast the "sales cycle" and related models with the "experience cycle" model. The sales cycle model is a traditional tool in business that frames the producer-customer relationship from the producer's point of view and aims to funnel potential customers to a transaction. The experience cycle…

    • FEATURETake a chance on me

      Tuck Leong, Steve Howard, Frank Vetere

      Randomness has long beguiled and fascinated human beings. It is widely used as a powerful computational resource, as mathematicians and scientists use it to encrypt, model, and predict. Artists, on the other hand, have recognized randomness's versatility and ability to provoke, seed, and capture our imagination. They exploit the…

    • FEATUREWhat do we mean by “Program”?

      Benjamin Bratton

      Very often in my discussions with interaction designers, there is strong agreement that their work should include in its assignment a broader range of interactions, including things like supply-chain systems, recycling techniques, intangible workflow processes, traffic interfaces, and even furniture. There is a hope that their discipline would have…

    • SUSTAINABLY OURSImages of sustainable interactions

      Eli Blevis, Shunying Blevis

      This issue begins the first of a series of collected images concerned with sustainability and interaction design. In keeping with the new theme of interactions magazine—promoting interactions—it is our hope that these images will stimulate many discussions, actions, and reactions. The subtlety of images is here offered as a…

    • TIMELINESTravel back in time

      Jonathan Grudin

      In this column we take a break from HCI history to revisit two earlier 20th-century technology successes. Rather than moving bits, these were people-movers. Early in the century, Henry Ford revolutionized the design, manufacture, and use of automobiles. Subsequently, Howard Hughes revolutionized the design and use of aircraft. Each…

  • The Challenge at the Interface
    • THE WAY I SEE ITWaiting

      Donald Norman

      Just as dirt collects in crevices, buffers collect in the interfaces between systems. It is their natural home, and life would not work without them. I have become fascinated by buffers. I see them everywhere I look. They cannot be escaped. What is a buffer? It is a holding…

    • Ps AND QsKeep your hair on

      Elizabeth Churchill

      Chatting with virtual world researchers Jeff and Shaowen Bardzell, I found out that a seriously desired artifact in Second Life, not unlike in First Life, is hair. Swishy, shiny, thick, luscious hair. But there is one problem with this fabulous hair: It is computationally costly to render in comparison…

    • LIFELONG INTERACTIONSDesigning online interactions

      Allison Druin

      Last year I was invited to my child's school to celebrate her birthday. When I walked into the classroom early, I was surrounded by 7- and 8-year-olds with stuffed animals in their hands, on their laps, and hanging from their shoulders. The children were sitting under tables, curled up…

    • OK/CANCELParents just don’t understand

      Tom Chi, Kevin Cheng

      Footnotes DOI: ©2008 ACM1072-5220/08/0500$5.00 Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice…

    • THAT’S ENTERTAINMENTHCI impact and uncitedness

      John Hopson

      As an HCI researcher working in the games industry, the sweetest words I have ever heard from my clients have been "Okay, we'll fix that." At the end of the day, research is only as good as the amount of impact it has on the experience of our users.…

    • TRUE TALESThe journey is the reward

      Steve Portigal

      Some people like to ride roller coasters. Others are horror-film enthusiasts. I enjoy the perversely pleasurable confusion and effort that emerges unexpectedly while attempting an everyday task in another culture. While in London, and prior to boarding the Docklands Light Railway, my colleague instructed me to be sure and…

  • Optimistic futurism
    • COVER STORYOptimistic futurism

      Richard Seymour

      What the hell happened to the future? Everything was going just fine in the early 1950s, even though much of Europe, Japan, and the Soviet Union were still flattened under a shroud of ash and broken bricks. Even as the icy grip of the Cold War tightened, those of…

    • FEATUREDancing in the streets

      Scott Palmer, Sita Popat

      How do you transform a city center at night to enhance the experience of residents and visitors and to combat the public's fears over safety and security after dark? This challenge was set by the York City Council's "Renaissance Project: Illuminating York," and we took them up on it.…

    • (P)REVIEWMerging design, business, and sustainability

      Allison Arieff, Valerie Casey

      In early 2007 Valerie Casey launched the Designers Accord ( to encourage design and innovation firms to focus on creating positive environmental impacts. Recognizing the near impossibility of changing both consumer and business behavior, the Designers Accord asserts that the firms that design everything from graphics and packaging to…

    • UNDER DEVELOPMENTUCD in Chinese IT enterprises

      Zhengjie Liu, Zhiwei Guo, Kai Qian, Huiling Wei, Ning Zhang

      Along with the economic development and the market globalization process, usability and UCD are rapidly emerging as professions in China. More and more leading Chinese enterprises have started practices in this area. To better understand the current situation, in January 2007 we conducted a study on UCD practice in…

    • FEATUREInto the groove

      David Cronin

      If you think about it, musical instruments provide really intriguing examples of user interface design. While it can take years of training and no small amount of aptitude, an instrument in the right hands can provide highly nuanced control over the many aspects of sound that come together to…

  • Interactions Cafe
    • On the experience ecosystem, drama, choreography…

      Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko

      Jon: This issue clearly demonstrates a shift in thinking for practicing designers. Creators of physical, digital, and systematic products are moving away from the development of single, static things and are now considering the larger ecosystem of the experience in which these things are used. This experience lifecycle has…